Our villages under siege, say residents
Francis Sardauna in Katsina
No fewer than 30 persons have been killed in a fresh attack launched by suspected bandits on Tsauwa and Dankar villages of Batsari Local Government areas of Katsina State.
THISDAY gathered that the suspected bandits, numbering about 50 on motorcycles, aunched the fresh onslaught on the villages at about 6:45pm Friday, rendering many residents homeless.
The attack on the villages forced hundreds of residents to flee their ancestral homes to Batsari, the headquarters of Batsari local government where they perceived to be safe.
While the bandits met stiff resistance in Dankar from the security operatives and residents, they had a field day in Tsauwa where they sacked the village and looted shops, houses and rustled unspecified number of cattle.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari had granted amnesty to bandits after a tour of Fulani settlements and strong enclaves of the bandits in Rugu Forest on September 4-9, 2019, during which the famed bandits and forest commanders denounced banditry.
The peace initiative was adopted by the Governors of North-west States following a Peace Summit convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in Katsina that facilitated discussions with representatives of the bandits from the affected States of Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna and Zamfara States.
Our correspondent who visited the affected communities amidst tight security observed that the hoodlums burnt most of the victims beyond recognition and left many in critical condition following gunshot injuries they sustained.
Those massacred by the assailants were mostly women, children and the elderly people who could not run during the invasion, as those who survived the attack were leaving the villages.
The Ward Head of Tsauwa, Salisu Lawal, who confirmed the attack to our correspondent in an interview in the village Saturday, said the bandits invaded the villages on Friday night when they were observing Magrib (Muslim 7 o’clock prayer).
He said: “We were observing Magrib when the bandits riding on motorcycles laid siege on our village and started shooting sporadically. They killed 23, injured some people and rustled many of our cattle including sheep and goats.
“The unfortunate thing is that we informed the security agents of the bandits’ plan to invade our village but no action was taken by them until after the attack. We are calling on government to come to our rescue”.
He lamented that villages in Batsari local government were under siege by armed bandits whom he said were launching attacks on daily basis on the areas.
Addressing journalists in Tsauwa village, the State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, who was visibly disturbed by the attack said the bandits killed 30 persons in Tsauwa and Dankar villages.
He said: “The (bandits) killed 21 people here in Tsauwa village and nine at Dankar. When I got the information, myself in conjunction with the army, we mobilised our officers and laid siege on the communities.
“You can see the terrain is very far and there is no network but that notwithstanding we were able to come and engage them to some extends, they get scaled and left.
“Before our men could come, the (bandits) set some houses ablaze in a selected manner. I don’t know what informed this ungodly act. Whatever may be the reason, it is bad and sad”.
The state police chief, however, vowed to fish out the perpetrators of the attack, saying the state government had contributed immensely in tackling bloodletting in the state